Let’s Be Frank-N-Dank

48-hours

So any given hip hop DJ will laud the utility of some good ol’ instrumentals on vinyl. It allows them to showcase their skills on the wheels of steel without being drowned out by an overzealous emcee. When it comes to instrumentals, J Dilla be the holy grail. So it comes as no surprise that the previously unreleased instrumentals off Frank-N-Dank’s “48 Hours” LP was met with much consumer joy. You can pick up the product in the Stones Throw online store. My concern is the verbiage accompanying the product in the store, here’s some of what I’m talking about:

J Dilla spearheaded a project for two of the most unlikely major label emcees: Frank N Dank. In retrospect it’s not hard to understand why the label shelved and eventually dropped the project.

I get it, I get it. Frank N Dank weren’t The Roots, and they weren’t Mobb Deep. But I was bumping their bootlegs and so were countless others (and this was in Toronto, Canada). Frank N Dank composed of Frank Nitty & Dankery Harv were grimey spitters married to their style and their way of doing things. This ostracized some but made a plethora of hip hop fans ecstatic anytime a random FND track got some airplay. Their involvement in the Detroit hip hop movement inspired a slew of rappers to follow, and gave a vital co-sign to some Canadian artists who now drive luxury cars (ahem, Kardinall & Saukrates).

So please do celebrate this release, Dilla was a genius, and this was one of his finest works. But let’s not use this as an opportunity to subtly blame a couple of uncelebrated dope emcees for causing the delay.

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The Incestuous Relationship Between Chief Keef, Pitchfork, And Guns

guns

Watching our President lay down the initial groundwork on major gun control legislation this morning was surely met with mixed emotions across the diverse board of these United States. There is no doubt that the highly publicized mass shootings that have catapulted this discussion onto Obama’s desk will dominate debates about the President’s unilateral legislative action. However, it would be outright ignorant and even somewhat racist to ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to guns in America; urban neighborhoods across this country are plagued by social issues that more often than not end in gun-related deaths. Nowhere is this phenomenon more exemplified than in the city of Chicago. Last year there were 506 homicides in the Windy City, most of which were the result of gun shot wounds. This year the city is on a two-a-day pace, about 200 more homicides than 2012. Needless to say, not everyone has been a victim to this deplorable statistic, some, including Chicago native and teen rap sensation Chief Keef, have successfully homogenized their music with gun violence. His videos and music are a virtual who’s who in the Chicago gang culture and his involvement came to a head when he taunted the death of a rival rapper on Twitter only days after the release of a video calling out Keef and his crew. His music video, I Don’t Like, was shot entirely in his grandmother’s house due to the fact that he was under house arrest for brandishing a gun in front of police officers while resisting arrest, it is riddled with gun references and boasts a hearty 23 million views.

Since the taunting tweet, Chief Keef has secured his major record deal and released his first album, Finally Rich via Interscope Records. No doubt Interscope recognized a pay day when they saw one and the desire to sign a rapper with a violent rap sheet is by no means breaking new ground in the industry. It’s still blood money though, and for that someone over there should sleep less. A new twist to the usual story was the involvement of a media source, in this case music power player Pitchfork Magazine, in the capitalization process. Pitchfork runs an interview series called ‘Selector’ whereby they interview an artist in somewhat candid settings. Pitchfork’s ‘Selector’ experience with Chief Keef took place at a Chicago gun range where a few guns were popped off by both Keef and Pitchfork staff in between some straight up horrendous questions. The interview was virtually unnoticed by most, though plenty of bloggers chimed in on the lack of moral fortitude the publication had selecting the controversial location. Since then, Pitchfork has pulled the video from their archives and issued an apology for their role in perpetuating the Keef experience in light of all these actual murders happening around him. Chief Keef was arrested yesterday in light of that Pitchfork interview, apparently the act of him holding a rifle in the video violated terms of his probation. Pitchfork has also been subpoenaed by the court to hand over the video footage in question.

Nobody gets a pass here. Chief Keef doesn’t get a pass on account of him being 17 years old and/or being caught up in the streets. Interscope doesn’t get a pass for simply being a label focused on music (everyone knows that it’s all about artist development, period), and worst of all, Pitchfork certainly doesn’t get a pass for capitalizing/publishing a highly insensitive video that will result in this most fortunate arrest. These are the players in the gun control debate America, the players you won’t see on CNN.com today, but that do very much drive the pathological problem that is gun violence in our urban centers. You want to do something for this country and our gun problem, start by passing on this kid’s projects and being wary of who your tastemakers are, Pitchfork is on many of your Twitter feeds, unfollow them, take a baby step. Because when media outlets begin dictating your musical preferences at the cost of lives on our streets, that’s that shit ‘I Don’t Like’.

The Racism of Suicide When It Comes To Rappers

honeycocaine

You ever notice the disturbing reactions to the suicide of a rapper? I often hear somebody say something along the lines of “what was his problem? He was a rapper!” Perhaps a few jokes about how said rapper must not “have had enough bling” or perhaps a comment about how piss poor their content was. Yes, I feel confident saying, when rappers kill themselves, it’s met with a dehumanizing dismissal from the general public. As if the convolution of a rapper’s lifestyle could never rival the complexity of suicide. A little over a week ago, Seattle based rapper Freddy E. killed himself, prior to doing that he left a few chilling tweets.

freddyetweets

Many were to quick to blame his apparent failed relationship with Toronto based rapper Honey Cocaine. Although she was quick to dismiss that notion as sheer ignorance, she did drop this track today which certainly sounds like a goodbye to Freddy at the very least. The track is a pretty good manifestation of what Honey can do lyrically (think Nicki Minaj without the multiple personality issues), but more importantly it’s a solid memento of the fact that Freddy was a person (Frederick Eugene Buhl) who died too young for most of us to judge without prejudice. Just another reason to appreciate that the word “rapper” is a label used to pigeon hole certain musicians into a place where they can be simplified into a statistical punchline.

Honey Cocaine – He’s The One (ft. Roxie LS) Prod. The Midi Mafia

Fashion Rio 22: Full of fashionably trendy items, like racism.

The season’s energetic colors and eye-catching prints adorning fresh fall dresses and smart winter suits at Fashion Rio’s 22nd edition were clouded by storms of objection emitted from brightly painted protesters representing the Afro-Brazilian and indigenous majority in Rio de Janeiro last week.

AFP reported the activists from labor rights group Educafro were not just demanding spots on the runway, but more opportunities for black and indigenous people to work in general. A main difference between a lack of diversity on runways in Brazil vs the same lack of diversity on catwalks in the US and Europe? – Brazil’s black and indigenous population make up more than half of their 194 million people.

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Opinions are like A-Holes, Everyone Has One

My homie Jamar Thrasher is a good guy, with what seems to be a positive mind set, a strong education and motivation out the Yin-Yang. So when I saw this open letter to Kendrick Lamar in my inbox, I showed the man respect, and proceeded to read it. It’s essentially a response to Kendrick Lamar’s decision to stay out of politics, at least the political machine that has been propped up by corporations and the Old Boy’s club since a bunch of “fathers” got together and wrote our apparent destiny on a piece of parchment with a quill pen. Those who know me, know that I’m a firm dissident when it comes to the two-party system that has plagued this country. The concept of choosing between two evils is one that many do not find appetizing. The notion that minorities must participate in the status quo to make a “difference” reeks of “settling”, unless one believes that there was any inherent desire for the architects of our system to actually desire change, that change being the redistribution of goods, liberties and opportunities in an equitable manner. Call me racist, but I don’t buy that a system set up by privileged country club regulars was ever intended to do anything but ensure their long term monopoly on both political and social power. So do I find it appalling when rappers like Kendrick Lamar decide to opt-out of this said debauchery of a political system? Absolutely not. However, I do appreciate the reason that Jamar employs when it comes to role models and its importance when applied to successful minority artists, I just don’t think that it necessitates political involvement. Additionally, I appreciate the fact that we live in a country where differing opinions can be thrown around without a Gestapo like agency showing up at our respective doors boasting cease and desist grins. On that note, here’s Jamar’s extremely well written thoughts.

Dear Mr. Kendrick Lamar,

I want to address your recent comments regarding why you do not exercise your right to vote. You cite contradictions and lack of control of world events and affairs as reasons not to vote. You have a right to your opinions, but your statements were foolish and dangerous.

Now that you have been pushed into the public spotlight, you are burdened with being a role model; whether you are tactful and responsible in your new role is up to you. You have an influence and reach that is phenomenal: Your music is on the top music blogs, you have fans all over the world, and most importantly, you deliver meaningful messages. When you are a rapper, it’s almost certain that you are a trendsetter. People, the youth especially, will follow and listen to your every word and some might emulate your behavior.

In 2012, voting and politics are “cool.” Elections, especially presidential elections, have become mainstream events; they have even become more closely associated with hip-hop culture. Jay-Z, Diddy, and Young Jeezy have all asserted messages in their music urging their fans to vote. In 2008, hip-hop was instrumental in improving voter participation in election campaigns, motivating young people to get out and vote.

According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau tracking voting trends in presidential elections, voters ages 18-24 were the “only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout in the most recent election, reaching 49 percent in 2008, compared with 47 percent in 2004.”

If timing is everything, then your words do a disservice to the disenfranchised communities of America, especially now, during an election year. This seems odd, especially since your music paints vivid pictures of the issues plaguing the world, specifically poverty issues.

In your seminal work, “Section .80,” you rap, “Everybody can’t drive Benzes so I make it my business to give them my full attention.”

When people aren’t getting the attention they deserve from politicians, they have to demand it.

Politicians have a job, and at the end of every term, they are faced with reelection. The two main resources politicians need to create a successful campaign and win an election are money and votes. In disenfranchised communities, there might not be money, but there are votes. Voting demands attention from the top.

For years, community organizers have developed strategic ways to get people to vote. One way is by having community leaders (like you) get the message out about the benefits of voting.

Many times, people stop believing in the American Dream when it seems like it is unattainable, but by voting, they have a say. People in low-income communities can vote for candidates who have an interest in raising the minimum wage, for example.

Even if you do not vote, please encourage your listeners to do so. Voting is a right community members must exercise to have a say in how their communities operate. If communities do not make decisions about their communities, someone else will make these decisions for them.

Vote for the black citizens who were, at various points in history, threatened, intimidated, maimed, raped, and killed for wanting to vote. Vote for the women who fought tooth and nail during the suffrage movement to cast a vote. Vote even for people in other countries across the world who are still revolting and rising up against tyrant political systems to get a chance to get their voices heard.Vote for the people who cannot vote: the mentally ill, the incarcerated, and the youth who are not old enough to vote.

Music educates people, and as a teacher, you must be cognizant of the lessons you are teaching.

By not voting, you further exacerbate and make definite your claim that you have no say in how the world is run.

Thank you,
Jamar Thrasher

———–

Jamar Thrasher received his undergraduate degree in political science and communications from the University of Pittsburgh.  He is currently a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College for Public Policy and Management. Thrasher is also a partner at Kennedy Blue Communications, a communications firm based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Contact: jamarthrasher@gmail.com or @jdthrasher on Twitter.

He In London

Leave it to the Grind King to drop the first anthem for the London Olympics. Mistah F.A.B. teams up with London’s Mega & Mayhem of S.A.S (formerly of Dipset acclaim). The track is high energy featuring predictable references to the city and the Olympics. You can bet your bottom dollar that American athletes will be bumping this while pocketing their gold. If you don’t, I’m sure the Grind King will gladly accept the buck.

Mistah F.A.B. – I’m in London featuring SAS (remix)

Also, be sure to download that Beast Mode mixtape GK dropped, it’s a potential mixtape of the year candidate.

Stop Frisking Me Bro

You don’t have to be a criminology major to know that NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policy is set up to dramatically fail on multiple levels. The mayor and police commish have lauded the policy for helping curb illegal gun trading. But here’s a fact that one would expect from such a policy; since the practice has begun  87 percent of the 684,000 stops were of blacks or Latinos, even though whites were the group most likely to actually have weapons on their person. In a twist of sweet irony, rapper Jasiri X was headed to the Netroots Nation convention when he was stopped and thoroughly frisked. Discussions regarding the policy took place at the convention, this video was the result.

Activate yourself and read more about the policy and what you can do to kill it at the NYCLU page.

Azealia Banks Is Still Here, Twitter Not So Much

“I’m a Young Black American Woman in 2012. I’m a 21-yr-old millionaire. i don’t have to prove myself to anyone… I’ve already paid my dues. I and the generations of women who came before me have been through enough stress and c**p to warrant me (the new generation) a very illustrious, lucrative, luxurious, STRESS-FREE career & life.”

That was a quote from Azealia Banks on her recent Tumblr activity whereby she pulled the “I’m done with rap” card. Ah, Azealia, Azealia, how uncomfortably predictable of you. She also fired her manager who was also Lady Gaga’s manager and deleted her Twitter account, complaining about how accessible the social media platform had made her. Though this is true for all of us, isn’t it the responsibility of a major label artist to produce said social media content? She complains on her Tumblr about not listening to “bloggers” who don’t have “real jobs” and then rants about how lucrative her manufactured image/brand/music has made her. Maybe it was the recent Kanye West beat hoax where she thought she was getting a Kanye beat and tweeted about it, only to find out it was a no-go. Personally I think she is having a bit of a manic episode, one that will most likely drop into a depressive state, at which point you may see it all Tumblr down. For now, get your “Kunt Fix” at her non-annoying social media locations: Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram.

Remember she’s a self declared millionaire and has an upcoming hip hop/rap mixtape about to be released, oh yeah, also has a world tour commencing. She seems to be doing just fine…

 Taken Hours Ago via Instagram

Action Bronson: Twitter Hate Crime? Just Tweeting around? Freedom of Speech? [UPDATE]

I was getting interviewed for a job this past year and everything was going well, my gut was celebrating, I had that in the bag, then, the question: “Can you tell me a little about your Twitter account?” Me? My Twitter account with its petty 500 something followers? My account that is my blogs identity more than it is mine? My Twitter account? Let’s just say it wasn’t “in tune” with that employers existential mantra, I was kindly thanked for coming in. Lesson learned. Everyone from professional athletes to politicians to high school teachers have suffered a similar fate, trial and execution by Twitter. When I loaded up my timeline this morning I was surprised to see a pretty controversial tweet with an accompanying Instagram picture from one of my favorite rappers out of NY, Action Bronson.

Granted, for a man who rocks the twitter handle “Gimme Dat Butt” as well as formerly “Young Uganda” among other outlandish monikers, it is by no means shocking to see the filter button off. However, the notion that he was compelled to tweet a picture of a “tranny” whom had just had water dumped on “its” head by his boy does raise eyebrows, mind that pun. As Twitter controversies go, there was a flurry of feedback and qualifications. Including the following few tweets:

The man stands behind his words, and hasn’t deleted any of the tweets or pictures, I commend him for that. You can follow the conversation here, many are hitting him with both positive and negative feedback, many of which he has chosen to retweet. Now many of you will say, this is not a story, just a blog looking for one. I suppose that’s the very question I am asking, is this a story? Suppose some backup guard on the Pacers drops a line about “trannies” in a random tweet this week, what type of repercussions would you expect? Clearly a reaction from the league, clearly a major news story with groups looking to lynch the culprit. Are rappers immune to said critique? Action B. is a likeable guy, I like him, you like him, many people consider him the current torch bearer for the NY rap game. It’ll be interesting to see who chimes in, but at least you know that you can. Free speech baby, free fucking speech.

UPDATE: Action Bronson shut down his Instagram.

the Monday drops

Sleep dropping out of weekend eyes and the news dropping doesn’t bode well for some of those who rely on the Internet for music and money – the Recording Industry Association of America won a victory over music downloading when the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum who has a $675,000 verdict against him for downloading and sharing 30 songs online. The case will not be dropped, and neither will the amount of the penalties, which seem to be too unusually cruel to be constitutional. Mr. Tenenbaum may have been counting on FB stocks to take a monstrous leap and help him pay those bills, but the social media brand has opened its second day on the stock market with reports of a 13% drop. FB founder Mark Zuckerberg also dropped his bachelorhood Saturday by marrying his longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan. His bride is reported to like, “cooking and soft things,” a statement which makes me annoyed at the Associated Press. For existing.

Other things that dropped and sound unfortunate? Whitney’s last single. Call me what you will, but I will choose to remember one of my favorite vocalists of all time pre-Bobby only. A time before American Idol and all the fake extras that never did suit Ms. Houston in my opinion strung throughout a track I won’t Celebrate to. Ever.

Whitney Houston & Jordin Sparks – Celebrate

Drop me a line or drop a comment on this post if you feel the need.

Erykah Badu Says Kiss Her Placenta

Erykah Badu back from an online hiatus recently responded to criticism (Okayplayer message boards) on her having three children out of wedlock. It’s a long one, but no jump for the Queen. #Salute

HOW DARE YOU DISRESPECT THE QUEENDOM

…AND MY CHILDREN AND MY INTELLIGENCE.

ive never been so disgusted in all of my life .
there is no other place i used to enjoy more .
i post no where else .
you guys have taken an all time low , tho.

I’LL STATE MY PEACE

i am a great mother and care giver to my 2 children and to this world .
my children are 2 of the kindest and happiest people i have met.
I home schooled them and taught them the ways of good to the best of my ability.
i am their doctor and their nurse .
and even sometimes their mother and their father.

i am an excellent mother and resent all of the negative comments and insults on my character.

I PUT MUCH TIME AND THOUGHT INTO HAVING AND RAISING MY CHILDREN.
IVE HAD THE HONORS OF HAVING 2 HOME BIRTHS AND 2 WONDERFUL PARTNERS BY MY SIDE.

every relationship i have been in was because i loved the person DEARLY and was dedicated to us “exclusively” FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.

the fathers of my children are my brothers and friends .
we have a great deal of respect for one another and always will.

WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN TO NO END.

we took our own “vows” and CONTINUE TO UPHOLD THEM.

AND THAT IS WHAT THAT IS .

question?

WHAT IS MARRIAGE ?
WHO IS THE JUDGE?
WE ONLY UNDERSTAND THE EXAMPLES WE ARE GIVEN ( well sort of)

WOULD IT “LOOK BETTER ” TO MARRY AND DIVIORCE AND MARRY AGAIN ?

WOULD THAT BE MORALLY CORRECT ?

WHATS THE DIFFERENCE ? the government’s involvement i guess.
IDEALLY , IT WOULD BE EXCELLENT TO FIND THE MAN OR WOMAN WHO FULFILLS YOUR SPIRIT AND STAY FOR EVER AND EVER ( thru sickness and health till death do us part ) AND HAVE HEALTHY STRONG CHILDREN AS A RESULT OF A HEALTHY AND STRONG UNION.
(this CAN happen … we need much training , however.)

OR

IS IT REALLY “GOOD” TO STAY IN A RELATIONSHIP WHERE BOTH PARTIES ARE UNFULFILLED , LONGING FOR RELIEF , BRINGING one another down as a result of improper training , creating BAD ENERGY AND EXPERIENCES FOR THE CHILD TO REPEAT ?

(not to mention breeding deceit and anger and resentment )

SEEMS TO CREATE FEARFUL CHILDREN WHO TURN INTO FEARFUL ADULTS .

HOW MANY OF YOU GREW UP IN 2 PARENT HOMES THAT WERE MISERABLE AS F**K?

OR 2 PARENT HOMES THAT WERE NOT PERFECT BUT WORKED?

HOW MANY GREW UP IN ONE PARENT HOMES WHERE THE MOTHER WORKED HARD TO MAKE SURE YOU WERE CARED FOR BUT SHE WASNT QUITE HAPPY?

HOW ABOUT A HOME WHERE THE FATHER WAS THE MAIN CARE GIVER AND DID THE BEST HE COULD -LACKING NURTURE?
HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE A SIBLING THAT HAS A DIFFERENT FATHER OR MOTHER?
DOES HE OR SHE MEAN LESS TO YOU?
HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE MORE THAN 1 MOTHER OR FATHER OF YOUR OWN CHILDren ?

HOW MANY OF YOU HAD /OR / ARE PARENTS RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILDREN ,THAT DONT QUITE FIT ANY OF THESE DESCRIPTIONS?
HOW MANY OF YOU STAY IN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS FOR FEAR OF GOING TO HELL?

HOW MANY HOS OUT THERE … THAT HAVE KIDS TO GET A PAYDAY?
HOW MANY PEOPLE GETTING THEY ASS KICKED AND ARE FORCED TO SUBMIT CAUSE YO MAMA GOT HER ASS KICKED?
THEN WHAT is CORRECT?

how about this:

I PRAY WITH MY CHILDREN
I FEED THEM GOOD FOOD
THEY RESPECT PEOPLES DIFFERENCES
THEY TRAVEL THE WORLD WITH ME
THE KNOW WHO THEY ARE
THEY ADORE THEIR FATHERS AND ARE LOVED BY 2 PARENTS OR MORE

OR TWO OR MORE SETS OF LOVING GRANDPARENTS
THEY CRY
THEY GET HURT
THEY GET SICK
THEY HEAL

THEY ARE real

THEY ARE NOT AN IDEA or a TOPIC
AND NEITHER AM I .
I AM ALIVE .
I AM BEAUTIFUL WOMAN.
I AM A GOOD WOMAM.
I AM GROWING
I AM COMPLETE WITH OR WITHOUT A PARTNER AND WILL ALWAYS BE
AND I HAVE DREAMS OF A FAMILY STRUCTURE
ALL OF MY DREAMS DO NOT COME TRUE
AND DESPITE ALL OF THE PAIN IN MY LIFE …
IN MY MOTHERS LIFE …
IN MY GRANDMOTHERS LIFE
WE HAVE ALWAYS ENDURED
AND THERE IS SO MUCH JOY TO BE EXPERIENCED.
I NEVER HAD A FATHER AND I DONT KNOW WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE –
BUT MY CHILDREN DO , AND THEY LOVE THEIR ‘PARENTS’ .

WE ARE THEIR CHAMPIONS .

live how you want . follow which ever pattern YOU like .
MY CHILDREN WILL BE LEADERS
and they will not ever be slaves to this society’s failing idea of morality.
THEY OWN THEIR MINDS AND THEIR DREAMS.

BIRTH CONTROL lol … could have 10 babies instead of 2 .

I LOVE CHILDREN AND I WILL HAVE AS MANY AS GOD WILL GIVE ME .

I AM VERY HEALTHY AND RESPONSIBLE AND SO ARE ALL OF MY PARTNERS

I CHOSE THEM WISELY AND SOBERLY .

ALL GOOD BROTHERS .

your opinions lack experience and are not only careless but also very uninformed and immature.

nothing is sacred here . and i see why.

if i loose you as a fan because i want to continue to have children then
F*CK OFF… WHO NEEDS YOU ….CERTAINLY NOT ME … KICK ROCKS … CALL TYRONE … PACK LIGHT …. BITE ME

i have defended myself here ON THIS SITE and hurled a few insults .. but only in response to your insults of
my music , my clothes , my lyrics , my hair , my being a woman , my spirit, my choices of partners….

these have all been on trial here . and i continued to support the energy of this place .

this is to all the okay players / REAL HUMAN BEINGS hiding behind screen names in order to insult one another and who ever else you will.

geeeez…
i had to say something
i am so sad for parents who try , today guys
enough is enuf.

dont judge to quickly , OKAY PLAYER?

i know you are having fun , but what if it were you and your children?
my son is 10 .
my daughter, 4 .

peace

ANALOGUE GIRL

and if this post is not clear
kiss my placenta.

Kiss From An Egyptian Protester

Be mindful today. If this guy can express so much with no words, what exactly is stopping you from doing the same thing? Close your mouth, shatter your predictive routine, change something today, start now.

Lupe Fiasco-Words I Never Said (Feat. Skylar Grey) [Prod. By Alex Da Kid]

Transit Takes On Hip Hop In 8 Hours

Hailing from my former high school stomping grounds of  Victoria, British Columbia, we have two of the most interesting kids you’ll see on YouTube nowadays, one kid is from Calgary, but who’s counting? Any who, the tandem take a very simple idea (breaking down the makeup of a Top 40 track) and create something unique, humorous and compelling. Everyone knows that AutoTune is wack and that good music (No, not G.O.O.D) depends not on such artificial tampering. But these two make a great video out of it, and frankly really blow my socks off with their final product. I’m not the only one, apparently Gene Simmons of Kiss acclaim offered them a contract which the band kindly refused, smart kids. They cited logic as one of the reasons, saying:

It’s very flattering, but we’re not going to make pop music. I don’t think I could stand myself if I had to sing in Autotune that much.” – Dan Bennett (Transit)

Oh yeah, their band is called Transit. Let me just say that T-Pain should shoot himself in the face (squirt gun of course! (filled with goat pee)).

The track is approaching 400K views on YouTube and has over 5000 downloads. O Canada!

Dregs One – The Wake Up Report Volume 1: Gentrification

Not all rappers are meant to be community activists, or to open the populations’ eyes about important issues. Nobody wants to hear Snoop or Gucci Mane pretend like they know how to improve the public school systems. That is just not part of the identity that they have created for themselves. Yet when an MC does makes the conscious effort to educate and promote progressive thought in their listeners, I got to give credit where credit is due. They may not get as many fans as someone who raps about the clubs and the corners, but it’s a great usage of their opportunity to reach the people.

Therefore I got to give serious props to San Francisco’s Dregs One, of the Gas Mask Colony, for the fact that he is using his status as a rapper to get a worthwhile message out to his audience. Yet the interesting thing about it is that he’s doing it without rapping. Starting this December, he is creating a monthly video series called The Wake Up Report, in which he discusses important and relevant issues that pertain to our communities.

In episode one, Dregs discusses Gentrification. While for the most part it only focuses on San Francisco, anyone who has ever lived in a metropolitan area recognizes that every major city is experiencing gentrification to some degree. San Francisco is just a city where the problem stands out more than others, because due to it’s small size (it’s only 46 square miles, compared to Los Angeles: 469, Chicago: 234, and New York: 469) there are literally less and less places for people with low incomes to go.

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Love Lost In Philly: The Esther Smith Story

Close your eyes for a second. Think about the word “home”. What comes to mind? Quickly, bust it out: couch, carpet, bed, warmth, comfort, food, pets, grass. Sound about right? What if I told you that you had it mad twisted, perhaps even that you were  a foolish clown to have such word associations? For the words that should come to mind are: artificial, fragile, not concrete, unsafe, locked, foreclosure. This is the reality we have chosen, a world where invisible borders are guarded by very real guns and where concepts of public property have been forcibly gutted, instead replaced with a belief that inorganic systems of governance delegate property; its ownership, its sale, and yes, occupancy. In Philadelphia now, as is the case in many cities across this country, there is a housing crisis, as in houses that were not in a state of crisis before have been thrust into a whirlpool of shit, foreclosures are equitable to Gestapo removals of Jews from European cities Pre-WW2. This is a big “what the fuck is going on” moment, thankfully there are people taking a stand, a line has been drawn in Philadelphia by PPHERC, and it starts at Esther Smith’s house.

What: Members of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) will hold a press conference at a member’s home that is currently in foreclosure. The Poor Peoples Ecnomic Human Rights campaign  is the national office of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and serves as a national school for teaching low income families how to organize and play a leadership role in their
communities.

Esther Smith, who has had to become the head of the household after the passing of her mother, states, “The bank needs to modify my payments – not throw us out on the streets for the holidays.”

“Members of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign are prepared to go to jail if necessary rather than see this family experience another crisis during the holiday season,” stated PPEHRC organizer Cheri Honkala.

Where: 3rd and Widener St.

What: Press Conference &  Mass training for non violent civil disobedience and step by step training for foreclosure resistance.

Time: 4:00pm

Date: Nov 18

That would be today guys. ZIF cats in Philly, ante up. ZIF cats elsewhere, specifically artists, please be sure to include any shout outs or spoken word love for this cause in your sets/interviews/convos today. Hit me with any video or even a tweet.

Brotherly love starts with action, take that to the bank! Actually, send an envelope with talcum powder to your bank, take your action to Esther Smith’s house, proverbially speaking.

One.